The power of myth and fairy tales in our culture is pretty apparent. Myth and fairy tales are not real, of course, and have subtle (or not so subtle) narratives about how we should act. It's important to recognize just what place the myth should have in our life. Just as the princess in the tower doesn't exist, neither does the knight on a white horse or happily ever after. Now, I am someone who appreciates escapist literature as much as the next person - it just has to be tempered with reality.
One of the fairy tales I've been thinking about recently is Tam Lin. There's a synopsis here . The heroine (hero) is tasked with saving her love from being taken away forever by the fairies. (These fairies are tricky, they are not the disney version). He tells her how to tell him when he passes, and that the fairies will try to turn him into all manner of animals to force her to let him go. If she holds on to him, no matter what he turns into, he'll be able to go free.
What's interesting about this to me personally, is that I feel in our culture we have so much that we are encouraged to hold onto, no matter what. Yet we are also given mixed messages, because just as we're supposed to hold on as tightly as we can, there are some things convential wisdom tells us to let go of. Addicts, for example. It puts us in a bind. As family, friends, spouses and children - we're supposed to hold on no matter what. And we're promised that in the end, the person will be okay, they will be themselves and they will be "ours".
On the flip side, there are many societal lines. We're supposed to leave addicts and alcoholics. Those who treat us badly. A person is told "why would you put up with that?" And why would a person put themselves through h*ll?
I submit that through fairy tales like Tam Lin, that's exactly what society is telling our children to do.
I am working, consciously, on letting go. Of a lot of things, not just relationships in my life. Not necessarily letting go of the relationships, but letting go of my attitudes towards them. It's complicated to explain. I have my power in relationships, and others also have power.
Letting go of my expectations, and putting my energy into things I can actually change. Remembering that I'm only one person, and have responsibilities to myself and others. Again - this is not something that we're told.
There is no fairy tale about a woman who decides to let her love go to the fairies rather than hold on and lose herself.